South Dakota

Where to Eat in Sioux Falls in 2019

Chances are you’ve heard of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

But did you know that this often under-the-radar city is home to a bustling foodie scene? 

Not only are there over 700 restaurants in town, Sioux Falls has their share of award-winning chefs and features on both the Food Network and Bravo! We recently spent a long weekend checking out this vibrant culinary scene, and we can enthusiastically say that it lived up to the hype. And because the questions we get asked the most usually revolve around food, we thought we’d break down our favorite spots to dine, drink, and treat yourself in Sioux Falls… 

(Be warned: this blog will make you hungry!)

BREAKFAST/COFFEE

Josiah’s Coffee House: This hip and trendy new coffee shop reminds us of something we’d find in Los Angeles, but with some “South Dakota” charm. We love the freshly baked, homemade pastries and sweets, the extensive breakfast and lunch menus, and the friendly service. It’s the perfect place to meet your friends for brunch, or bring your laptop and get some work done, as there’s ample seating!

Coffea Roasterie: While we wouldn’t go as far as saying that we’re “coffee snobs”, we know a good cup of joe when we see it. This quaint little downtown coffee shop knows what they’re doing - so much so that we went every day while we were in Sioux Falls. (Sometimes even twice!) Grab a seat at the bar, get to know the knowledgeable and passionate baristas, and get ready for a really strong, smooth, and flavorful coffee experience. 

Ode to Food and Drinks: If you happen to visit Sioux Falls over a weekend, make sure this is your Saturday brunch spot. While the breakfasts are hearty, tasty, and locally sourced, the real MVP here is their famous Bloody Mary Bar. It has all of the fixin’s, from bacon and olives, to pretzels and shrimp! (While this thoroughly grossed Alli out, it was a dream for Bobby!)

Queen City Bakery: Maybe it’s the cozy brick lined interior, maybe it’s the fresh-out-of-the-oven baked goods, or maybe it’s the hot coffee that pairs so perfectly with their melt in your mouth coffee cake… whatever it is, this bakery is truly something special. We happened to enjoy it on a rainy morning, and it was just the kind of snug and inviting place we were hoping to find! 

The Source: An independent small-batch specialty coffee roaster, taproom, and wine bar all in one… Can we get an amen?! The Source is one of the newer coffee shops on the scene, and we have a feeling it’s only going to get more popular. Not only do they roast some quality coffee, but they also have an epic tap wall that features 16 unique styles of crafted beer from artisan breweries. And if you want wine, they have that too! Yep… this place is pretty darn legit.

LUNCH/DINNER

Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen: With a name like “Bread & Circus”, we weren’t sure what to expect. Toast on unicycles? Bagels doing tricks? Well, we have no clue what tricks the folks at this sandwich kitchen have up their sleeves, but whatever they’re doing, they’re killing it. From their Curried Cauliflower flatbread, to their Vietnamese Fried Chicken sandwich, everything they make is creative, high quality, and delicious. 

Sanaa’s: We love a good hole-in-the-wall Mediteranean restaurant, and Sanaa’s is exactly that. This no frills, order at the counter lunch spot is a favorite among Sioux Falls locals, and with one bite of baklava you’ll know why! For something really fun and different, try their Saturday lunch buffet! You might even meet Sanaa herself!

M.B. Haskett Delicatessen: This warm and friendly delicatessen takes their menu to the next level, with rotating daily specials and salads that have developed a cult following around town. Every day the menu changes, and every day the crowds come in droves! Some regular menu items worth trying are their housemade Muffaletta and the Cheddar and Bacon Crepe!

Mama’s Ladas: Homemade enchiladas and sangria… what a concept! This adorable enchilada shop is a must-try when in Sioux Falls, for multiple reasons. Their enchiladas are fantastic, their sangria is perfectly sweet and refreshing, and the ambiance is adorable! Not to mention, the entire menu is incredibly affordable. We know you’ll love it just as much as we do!

Parker’s Bistro: If you’re looking for an upscale date night spot, this is it. Parker’s Bistro is a chef driven restaurant that utilizes local ingredients to create unique and memorable cuisine from around the world. On Friday and Saturday nights they offer a “white table cloth fine dining experience”, and it’s unbelievably romantic!

DESSERT

Parlour Ice Cream House: Chic, chef driven, and artisanal, this ice cream shop is as Instagrammable as it is mouth-watering. Their chef Chris Hanmer (who won Top Chef on Season 2 of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts) takes ice cream to another level with flavors such as “Play Ball” (popcorn gelato with caramel and chocolate peanuts) and White peach Ginger Sorbet. Is your mouth watering yet?

C.H. Patisserie: Desserts are our love language, and it’s safe to say C.H. Patisserie has our hearts! This downtown patisserie specializes in everything from gourmet French macarons to homemade candies pastries, french press coffee, and more. It’s the kind of place where it’s impossible to order just one thing, and their macaron flavors are to die for! We’re still dreaming about their puppy chow macarons!

BARS

Carpenter Bar: One step inside the Carpenter Bar and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped inside a stylish NYC bar, with well-qualified mixologists and picture-perfect handcrafted cocktails! Their extensive cocktail menu proves that they can make just about anything, too!

PAve: There’s no better spot to be on a warm summer evening then PAve’s glistening and energetic rooftop bar! This multi-level bar and restaurant has some of the best daily drink specials in town, and ½ price drinks from 1pm-7pm, Monday-Friday! We’ll cheers to that!

BREWERIES

Fernson Brewing Company: With two locations (the Brewery Taproom & the Downtown Taproom), this Sioux Falls craft brewery is a favorite among locals and visitors alike! We’re big fans of their Downtown location, which serves high quality shareable grub as well as their 12 Fernson beers on tap… and the cool, refined ambiance is on-point!

Remedy Brewing Company: This casual and welcoming brewery has it all - 23 rotating brews on tap, a full food, wine, and dessert menu, board games, plenty of space to sit, and live music and trivia nights happening weekly! Their beer is innovative and enjoyable (try the Cow Tippah Chocolate Milk Stout!), and the way they connect and inspire the Sioux Falls community is inspiring. We’d be here all the time if we were locals!

Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the culinary scene in Sioux Falls. There are SO many spots we have yet to check out and add to our list, so if you have a favorite that we failed to mention, leave a comment and let us know! You better believe we plan on coming back soon - and check out what we did in Sioux Falls (beyond eating and drinking) here!

Falling For Sioux Falls

If you’ve been following along on our Instagram, you’ll know that we just returned home from a long weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While we’re no strangers to South Dakota (we’ve been three times in the past three years - we LOVE it), this was our first time visiting Sioux Falls. Located in East South Dakota, only 15 miles from the Minnesota border, Sioux Falls is not only one of the most well-known cities in “SoDak”, but it’s also the most populated. Having spent the majority of our time in the sprawling Black Hills, we were pumped to see a different, more urban side of SoDak - and it blew us away! The charming downtown, the bustling outdoor festivals, the friendly locals, the lush bike paths, the hip coffee shops and breweries... Sioux Falls is just downright COOL. Here’s what we discovered:

THE THRIVING ARTS AND CULTURE

Sioux Falls is surprisingly metropolitan, with its big brick buildings, downtown trolley service, and chic shops and restaurants - but it also has that small town, tight-knit community feel. Local arts and culture are celebrated, and the Sioux Falls pride is undeniable. 

There’s the SculptureWalk, an exhibit of locally-crafted outdoor sculptures that are on display year-round in downtown Sioux Falls, where visitors can follow a map and vote on their favorite sculptures. The newest addition to the beloved SculptureWalk is the Arc of Dreams, a giant stainless steel sculpture that spans across the Big Sioux River. At the center of the stunning arc is a 15-foot gap, that represents the leap of faith that dreamers must take in order to pursue their aspirations. This gorgeous sculpture was just completed this past July, and it’s breathtaking! 

There’s the Washington Pavillion, an educational and entertainment center that has multiple museums, a performing arts center, a cinema, and more! Outside the Pavillion you can even test your strength with raising a sedan with some serious leverage. Bobby’s never felt so strong! 

THE BOOMING CULINARY SCENE

A recent trend that we’ve seen in up-and-coming cities is the surge of new high-quality cafes, bars, restaurants, and breweries. Aspiring local chefs and restaurateurs head to larger cities and schools for training, with the mission to return “back to their roots” and elevate the dining experience back at home. Sioux Falls is no exception, with an advanced and cosmopolitan culinary scene that boasts of places one would expect in New York City or Los Angeles. Just a few of the “stand out spots” (we’ll be posting a food-specific blog on Sioux Falls soon) are: 

Josiah’s Coffee House is a brand new coffee shop and cafe that has everything from homemade pop tarts to made-from-scratch soups. The decor is warm and welcoming, with contemporary touches and cozy elements - like their brick fireplace that was crafted by local artists. 

Parlour Ice Cream House is a chic, chef driven, artisanal ice cream shop that’s as Instagrammable as it is delicious. Their chef Chris Hanmer (who was awarded the title “Top Chef” on Season 2 of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts) takes ice cream to another level with flavors such as “Play Ball” (popcorn gelato with caramel and chocolate peanuts) and White Peach Ginger Sorbet. Is your mouth watering yet? 

Stepping into Carpenter Bar felt like we were stepping into one of our favorite NYC hot spots, with its stylish decor and lively bar… and the handcrafted cocktails were some of the best we’ve had in a long time! The staff are all well-qualified mixologists, and their extensive cocktail menu proves that they can make just about anything. 

THE OUTDOOR CONCERTS & FESTIVALS

Sioux Falls knows how to have fun. If you happen to visit in the summertime, chances are you’ll be able to catch at least a night (or two) of free live music! That’s right, FREE! Levitt at the Falls is a new state-of-the-art outdoor music venue that’s hosting free concerts throughout the summer (including 50 lined up for summer 2020!), and the setting couldn’t be more idyllic! We spent our first night in Sioux Falls grooving to the music and enjoying the warm South Dakota weather, and we instantly felt right at home!

We spent the next two nights (and afternoons) at the annual Sioux Falls JazzFest, a free (yep, this one was free too!) two-day jazz and blues festival held at the Yankton Trail Park. We danced and sang along with iconic bands like Tower of Power, the Jack Brass Band, and MarchFourth. We snacked on cotton candy and corn dogs, made friends with the people sitting around us, and watched as the sun set over the city.

THE PICTURESQUE PARKS AND TRAILS

Sioux Falls #1 attraction is Falls Park, a 123 acre park that features their namesake waterfalls, in which 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the falls every second. That’s a lot of water!! Native Americans were the first to discover the falls, and they have been a landmark to the city since its founding in 1856. We loved exploring all around the iconic falls, and we even got to witness some fish jumping upstream!

Big Sioux River Recreation Trail: is a bike trail system that features a picturesque 19-mile loop that runs along the Big Sioux River. We rented bikes at the Nyberg’s Ace in downtown, and spent our Saturday morning riding about three miles up the trail, and absolutely loved it. Everywhere we turned was another photo opportunity, as it was so green!

THE SOUTH DAKOTA CHARM

There’s a reason why we keep coming back to South Dakota. It has a charm about it - a small-town, Americana charm that’s both intriguing and addicting. Sioux Falls is no exception. Whether we were grabbing drinks at a bar or settling down to listen to some live music, we made friends wherever we were. We realized quickly that everywhere we went had a story, and every sculpture we admired had a meaning. The pride in their city that the Sioux Falls locals had was addicting, and we left feeling like locals ourselves!

Whether you’re planning a road trip through South Dakota, or looking for a spot to spend a long weekend, we would suggest visiting Sioux Falls. It’s absolutely magical in the summer, and we can only imagine that the fall and winter months will be just as spectacular. (We’ve got to keep our SoDak visiting streak up, so let us know when you go. We just might join you!)

Adventuring (and Eating) our Way Through the Black Hills

Nestled in the west of South Dakota are the Black Hills, a small mountain range rising from the Great Plains that’s quickly becoming one of our favorite places to explore. More than the stunning landscapes and friendly locals, the Black Hills boast an array of adventuring opportunities AND charming local spots to quench your thirst or satisfy your cravings. (Because let’s be real, we live for experiences, but we equally live for our next meal. #Foodielife) Here’s a little recap from our most recent trip to the Black Hills!


BIKING ALONG THE MICKELSON TRAIL

What once was a railroad, The Mickelson Trail is over 100 miles of breathtaking scenery and gentle slopes, passing right through the heart of the Black Hills. No matter where you enter the trail you’re bound to have a blast, but we recommend renting bikes at Rabbit Bicycle in Hill City and riding north. We went a few miles, got hungry for lunch (like we said - live to eat), and pulled a quick u-turn back. We passed through tunnels, rolling hills, tree-lined paths, and the cutest little log cabins. It’s the perfect way to start your morning! (Just don’t forget to pay the $4 entrance fee!)

FLYING THROUGH THE BLACK HILLS ON AN ATV WITH MAD MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES

What better way to experience the beauty (and the thrills) of the Black Hills than on an ATV?! Our friends at Mad Mountain Adventures have 2 and 4 seater ATV's that you can rent for a full-day, exhilarating and awe-inspiring adventure! There are numerous trailheads to explore, complete with forests, streams, and panoramic vistas... so grab your GoPro, pack a picnic, and experience the Black Hills in a whole new way! Go HERE to book your ATV rental!

LUNCH & WINE TASTING AT PRAIRIE BERRY

The famous Prairie Berry Winery is a must when you’re in the Black Hills. Family owned and operated, they’ve been making South Dakota wines since 1876. Many of their “untraditional” wines are made out of fruit, like “Red Ass Rhubarb”, but they do carry traditional varietals like Chenin Blanc and Meritage. Beyond their wines, the kitchen at Prairie Berry is EXCELLENT. Homemade soups, sandwiches, flatbreads, loaded salads… they have something for everyone. Everything is fresh and everything is delicious. (And don’t forget to join in on the free wine tasting after lunch!)

KAYAKING ON THE PACTOLA LAKE

Some of our favorite lakes are nestled in The Black Hills. The combination of crystal clear water with sprawling green hills makes them incredibly picturesque and peaceful. We went kayaking on Pactola lake on a day that was overcast, and it was still beautiful. Whether you rent kayaks for a couple hours or for a whole day, there’s so much to see and explore along Pactola lake. Next time we’ll pack a picnic and find a spot on the shore to stop and eat!

DINNER AT THE ALPINE INN

Located in downtown Hill City, the Alpine Inn is a historical landmark that possesses one of the best steak dinners in the area - for under $12! You read that right - it just might be the best deal in town! Word is definitely out about this iconic place, but don’t let the crowds scare you away, the wait goes quickly. Have a drink (or two!) in the adjoining bar until your name is called, and you’ll be diving into your bacon-wrapped filet in no time. Note to the picky eaters - there are only two things on the menu for dinner… steak and potatoes or German dumplings and veggies. Make sure to leave room for dessert, because there’s definitely more than 2 options (Probably 20+ dessert items!). If you need help, their peanut butter pie is life changing. (Also, the Alpine Inn is cash only, so plan accordingly!) 

HOT AIR BALLOONING WITH BLACK HILLS BALLOONS

Name a better way to see a place than by hot air ballooning - we’ll wait. The team at Black Hills Balloons makes the entire trip a breeze (literally), and the view from the balloon is jaw-droopingly beautiful. Once landed, you drink mimosas and snack on cheese and crackers with your new-found friends. It was definitely the highlight of our trip!

LUNCH AT BLACK HILLS BURGER AND BUN

We’re self proclaimed “burger-holics”. No matter where we’re traveling, we try to find the best burger in that area. It’s just what we do. Black Hills Burger and Bun in Custer came highly recommended by several of our followers, and… wow. It may be some of the best burgers we’ve ever had. Ever. It’s something about the homemade buns, juicy burger, fresh toppings and sauce that’s honest-to-goodness perfection on a plate. It’s worth a drive to Custer just to try these mouth-watering burgers. They’re that good.

HORSE BACK RIDING THROUGH BLACK HILLS NATIONAL FOREST

Whoa Nelly, this was fun! The team at Rockin’ R Trail Rides are total rockstars, making even the most city-type folk feel comfortable in a saddle. We embarked on a two-hour ride through the picturesque Black Hills National Forest. We learned about the surrounding foliage, rode past deer-filled meadows, and scaled rocky mountains with ease… it was perfect. We now want horses. Anyone have a stable we can use?

DINNER AT SKOGEN KITCHEN

Not only is this the cutest, most stylish restaurant in all of the Black Hills, it is also the best. Skogen Kitchen has only been open for a little over a year, but already they’ve won recognition as the best restaurant in all of South Dakota - and it’s easy to see why. Their food is fresh, thoughtful, and flavor-filled. It’s the kind of restaurant where we consciously eat as slow as possible, to make every bite last… It’s that good. Make reservations, as it fills up quick!

While we blitzed around seeing and eating as much as we could, what’s pulling us back is that there is still so much more! If you have any suggestions about spots we should explore on our next trip, leave a comment! We can’t wait to go back.

Why We Keep Coming Back to South Dakota

“You’re going where? South Dakota? AGAIN?” 

That’s the reaction we got from our parents when we recently told them we were heading back to South Dakota. Being self-proclaimed “wanderlusters”, it’s not often that we go to the same place twice. We’re always keeping things interesting and exploring new destinations… so needless to say, returning to South Dakota just a year after our first trip came as quite the surprise to our family!

Here’s the deal with South Dakota. There is SO MUCH TO SEE. It definitely takes more than one trip to experience everything that this grand state has to offer. Whether you’re an adrenaline junky looking for the next thrill, or a hiking enthusiast looking for the next scenic peak, or a history buff, fascinated by American history and folklore, South Dakota has something for everyone. Still hesitant about it? We’ll prove it to you.

THE TOWNS

South Dakota is filled with gems (literally and figuratively). Little iconic towns that slip under the radar, but shouldn’t be missed - like Deadwood! Deadwood, South Dakota is straight out of a country western novel. Legends like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok roamed the historic streets of Deadwood, looking for gold and a good time. And it’s still a darn good time!! You can catch a free Wild West re-enactement, get your game on at the many casinos in town, and grab a drink at the notable Saloon #10

Custer is another one of our favorite towns, located in the heart of the Black Hills. Its Western roots also run deep, and is filled with gift shops, galleries, delicious restaurants, and an overwhelming amount of rock shops. (Bobby’s favorite!)

THE DRIVES

We love nothing more than blasting some country music and exploring new scenic roads. Pretty much EVERY road in South Dakota is scenic, and there wasn’t a time Alli didn’t exclaim “Wow! So pretty!” when we were driving. 

On our first trip to South Dakota, we were blown away by Needles Highway. It’s 14 miles of twists and turns through sprawling granite spires, and located just 30 minutes south of Rapid City. 

This time around, we ventured through Spearfish Canyon, a DREAM of a drive for anyone that loves wildlife, outdoor activities, and breathtaking waterfalls. Built on an old rail bed, the views from this drive are fantastic, and filled with photo opportunities along the way. 

THE MONUMENTS

No matter how many times we see it, Mount Rushmore continues to amaze us. There’s no doubt that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln would be in awe of this epic mountainside memorial. The sheer magnitude and precision of Mount Rushmore is jaw-dropping, and it’s no wonder that it attracts over two million visitors annually! 

And then there’s Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse is the world’s largest mountain carving, and even though it isn’t yet completed, it’s a monument that can’t be missed! Crazy Horse was a Native American war leader that earned great respect from both his people, and his enemies. He’s one of the most iconic Native American warriors, and participated in several famous battles during his lifetime. The memorial is funded entirely by private donations, and to this day there is no set completion date. But you can go visit this incredible monument, and even watch a laser show there at night!

THE ADVENTURES

From horse back riding, to hot air ballooning, to kayaking and mountain biking, the opportunities for adventures in South Dakota are limitless. On the last day of our trip we went zip lining with Rushmore Tramway Adventures, and it was EPIC!! You fly over a mile of forest, reaching heights of up to 400 feet, and unobstructed views of Mount Rushmore! The guides are friendly, knowledgable, and full of wit and humor. Our two hour tour flew by! (Literally) It’s absolutely a South Dakota adventure you do not want to miss. Oh, and did we mention how comfortable our harnesses were? They use top-of-the-line equipment, making the entire process a breeze. We’ll be back!


THE STEAK DINNERS

You read that right. We’d be lying if we said the steak dinners in South Dakota weren’t one of the main factors for our return trip. If you love a good steak and you love a good deal, make note. Some of the best steaks we’ve had (at some of the best prices!), are in good ol’ South Dakota. 

One of our favorite places for steak and all the fixin’s is the appropriately named Legends Steakhouse in Deadwood. Located in the historic Franklin Hotel, Legends is one of the best places for steak in the state, and the long lines and rave reviews will prove it. Reservations aren’t required, but we recommend you make one. And be sure to get a side of the truffle mac n cheese… we’ve been craving it ever since!

If these five factors haven’t solidified your need for a trip to South Dakota, then we give up!

Just kidding. But quite frankly, we could keep going! The friendly locals, the abundance of wildlife, the campgrounds, the museums and amusement parks… South Dakota has it all. We can’t wait to return and adventure there again - who’s joining us next year?!

Dude, We Survived a Dude Ranch!

One of our favorite things about traveling is the random bucket-list experiences we get to share together. Sometimes we don't even know how bucket-list they are until we actually experience them!!

Anyway, a dude ranch is one of those experiences. We didn't really know what to expect or what we were in for, and man... was it epic. Have you seen the show, "Hey Dude" on Nickelodeon? It's pretty on point... 

 

Ghost Canyon Ranch is in the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota, minutes from Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. The ranch was established in 1878, and recently was taken over by Trevor and Laura Bryan and their family. They are passionate about family, nature, and horses and will definitely show you a great time. Ghost Canyon Ranch is a PERFECT place for a group gathering (family reunions!), as it has a capacity for 20 and offers an all-inclusive Western experience. You'll enjoy refreshing mountain air, gorgeous evenings, horseback riding, fishing, and relaxing. All this to say, or stay at Ghost Canyon Ranch was far to short. We basically got a taste of what a vacation on the ranch could be, and we can't wait to be back. 

We arrived in the afternoon and were greeted warmly by Trevor and Laura. We had a pretty long day of travel and we were tired, hungry, and pretty wiped out from the drive. They welcomed us with a big hug, showed us our room (more like a house!), and led us to the dining room where they had a full steak dinner waiting for us. And it was SO GOOD! 

 

We shared stories of our travels, learned about how they met, and got the scoop on what a "Dude Ranch" really is - a working ranch that accepts guests. So you can come to relax, or get to work! These past few years since they took over Ghost Canyon Ranch has been really busy for them, as word has traveled about how amazing their ranch really is. We went to bed feeling full, excited, and really honored for the opportunity to be there.

 

The next morning we woke up to picture-perfect views of the ranch, and the smells of breakfast calling us to the dining room. Laura greeted us with another home cooked meal, and told us to get our sneakers on. It was time to feed the horses!!

Laura and Trevor told us all about each horse, where they came from, their temperament, and how they daily care for each of their animals - they even let us help brush them! Odie the goat was the highlight of our morning, as he followed us around and ate from our hands - of course we HAD to get a picture with him!

As we said above, our time at Ghost Canyon Ranch was too short. We had some amazing home cooked meals, got to enjoy a beautiful evening, a lazy morning, and the peaceful silence you can only find in nature. We didn't have time to go on a horseback riding trip through the mountains, watch the sunset from their jacuzzi, or get get to work as a couple of ranch-hands... but we'll be back. 

 

We'll definitely be back.

Thank you to South Dakota Tourism for sponsoring this post!